Fall, 2005


16-Dec-2005: Schedule for reading and exam period:

Review Session 1 will be a general review. Session 2 will discuss old exams. Here is last year's exam for study.

28-Oct-2005: The midterm and solutions.

25-Oct-2005: Cancelled or not planned: Office hours Wednesday Afternoon, October 26, 2005 (I have to participate in oral exams). Class Friday, October 28, 2005 (not a good time to start new material!). Problem session, Sunday, November 6, 2005 (no homework due until November 15!).

24-Oct-2005: 2003's midterm for study.

14-Oct-2005: Last year's midterm for study.

14-Oct-2005: The late homework policy/penalty has been made more explicit. See below.

14-Oct-2005: Amol will lead a review in the fourth floor lounge on Tuesday evening, October 25, at 7:30 pm. (Same place as the problem sessions.)

27-Sep-2005: Amol's office hours for Friday, 30-Sep-2005 are moved to Monday, 3-Oct-2005 in order not to conflict with Secretary Rice's address in Jadwin Gym.

Course Instructor: Ed Groth, Jadwin 264, x8-4361,

Office Hours: Most afternoons - give a call before walking across campus! Almost surely Wednesday afternoons, 2:00-4:00 pm.

Teaching Assistant: Amol Upadhye, Jadwin 434, x8-4355,

Office Hours: Also most afternoons and almost surely Friday afternoons 3:00-5:00 pm.

Course Manager: Martin Kicinski, 208, x8-4408,

Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, 10:00-10:50 am, Jadwin A06.

Problem Session: Sunday evenings, 7pm, Fourth Floor Lounge, Jadwin 403. Starting 25-Sep-2005.

Text: Kittel & Kroemer, Thermal Physics 2nd ed., Freeman. (to be followed closely or loosely depending on the topic)

Others: Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics, Addison, Wesley, Longman. Similar to K&K, perhaps at a more introductory level.

Mandl, Statistical Physics, Wiley. Similar to K&K.

Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, McGraw Hill. Also similar to K&K.

Feynman, Statistical Mechanics, a Set of Lectures, Addison Wesley. This is fairly advanced, but it's always worthwhile to see what Feynman has to say.

Callen, Thermodynamics, Wiley. A classic treatment of thermodynamics.

I've asked that all the above be placed on reserve at Fine Library.

Homework: Assigned Monday (I will try, but sometimes the assignment may not be ready until Wednesday!), due the next Tuesday in the department office (208) by 5pm, returned the next Monday. 40% of grade. Collaboration encouraged (but not copying!). Late homework may receive only half or none of the grade depending on how late it is and how it fits into the grading schedule!

Specifically: If for some reason you need to be late with a homework assignment, ask for permission in advance. Assignments turned in late without prior permission will receive half credit up to the next Monday morning (when it would normally be handed back). Assignments handed in later than that will receive no credit.

Midterm: In class, Wednesday, October 26, 15% of grade.

Final: 45% of grade.


We will start by following K&K and cover fundamentals of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, including temperature and entropy. We will cover the Boltzmann, Bose, and Fermi distributions; black body radiation; chemical potential; Gibbs free energy; and phase transitions. Then we'll consider some of the more advanced topics in K&K. A more detailed syllabus is in the table below.


The lecture notes and the homework assignments will be available for downloading. Note that I write the lecture notes mainly so I know what I'm going to say. I like to distribute them so you can follow along in lecture rather than having to worry about taking notes.

The notes and assignments are written in TeX and converted to postscript which is converted to PDF. You will need a to be able to view and print PDF for downloading to be useful! Acrobat Reader from Adobe is a free viewer for PDF format. The files are large because the fonts used by TeX are embedded in the files.

If you discover errors or typos, or just plain unclear passages, let me know at

You may occasionally get a file not found error if I've put in the link, but haven't installed to the actual file yet.


Week Starting Date Tentative Topics
Lectures Homework Assignments and Solutions
0 12-Sep-2005 Introduction, Thermodynamic Conccepts
    1 No homework this week!
1 19-Sep-2005 Entropy, Temperature, Pressure, Chemical Potential, Probability
2 3 4 Due: 27-Sep-2005 Homework 1 Solutions
2 26-Sep-2005 Boltzmann Factor, Partition Function, Particle in a Box, Free Energy
5 6 7 Due: 4-Oct-2005 Homework 2 Solutions
3 3-Oct-2005 Harmonic Oscillator, Classical/Quantum Cavity Radiation, Oscillator Applications
8 9 10 Due: 11-Oct-2005 Homework 3 Solutions
4 10-Oct-2005 Chemical Potential, Gibbs Distribution, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein Distributions
11 12 13 Due: 18-Oct-2005 Homework 4 Solutions
5 17-Oct-2005 Ideal Gas (again), Sackur-Tetrode Entropy, Ideal Fermi Gas
14 15 16 Due: 24-Oct-2005 ***Monday*** Homework 5 Solutions
6 24-Oct-2005 Monday: Review; Wednesday: Midterm; Friday: TBD
  31-Oct-2005 Midterm Break
7 7-Nov-2005 Fermi Gases, Bose-Einstein Gases, Heat, Work, Carnot Cycle
17 18 19 Due: 15-Nov-2005 Homework 6 Solutions
8 14-Nov-2005 Gibbs Free Energy, Chemical Equilibrium, Saha Equation, Phase Transitions
20 21 22 Due: 22-Nov-2005 Homework 7 Solutions
9 21-Nov-2005 More Phase Transitions, Ising Model
23 24   Due: 29-Nov-2005 Homework 8 Solutions
10 28-Nov-2005 Getting Cold, Semiconductor Basics, Electrons in Semiconductors
25 26 27 Due: 6-Dec-2005 Homework 9 Solutions
11 5-Dec-2005 Collisions, Mean Free Path, Transport
28 29 30 Due: 13-Dec-2005 Homework 10 Solutions
12 12-Dec-2005 Diffusion, Sound Waves
31 32 33 Due: 16-Jan-2006 Homework 11 Solutions

Copyright © 2005, Princeton University Physics Department and E. J. Groth